Gov. DeSantis rides wave of popularity that a Florida governor hasn’t seen in a decade

by | Mar 13, 2019

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to enjoy his honeymoon with the voters of Florida. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows DeSantis enjoying  the highest approval rating for a Sunshine State governor in 10 years,

The Quinnipiac poll shows of the registered voters surveyed, 59 percent approve of the job that DeSantis has done since taking office on Jan. 8. Only 17 perce did not approve. The governor is even receiving high marks from those of the other party. Democrats approve of DeSantis, 42 – 28 percent.

“Ron DeSantis won the governorship by the slimmest of margins, yet in his first two-plus months in office he has gotten off to a strong start. His 59 percent job approval today is better than most of his counterparts around the country,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Part of Gov. DeSantis’ success is his taking on issues such as the environment on which Republicans often don’t focus.”

The poll shows that 67 percent of the voters surveyed are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” about the way things are going in Florida. That ties the highest satisfaction rate since Quinnipiac began asking the question of Florida voters in 2004. Thirty percent said they were “very dissatisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied.”

In addition, 71 percent of voters believe Florida’s economy is “excellent” or “good.” That’s the highest level ever recorded for this question, while 27 percent say the economy is “not so good” or “poor.” Florida’s economy is getting better, 37 percent of voters say, as 12 percent say it is getting worse and 49 percent say it’s staying about the same.

“Gov. DeSantis and the state’s politicians are benefitting from an overall sunny mood among Floridians who are happy about the economy and life in general,”  Brown added.

Among the issues of concern to Florida voters is climate change. A total of 72 percent of Florida voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change and 66 percent are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that they or a member of their family “will be personally affected by climate change.”

Climate change is going to have a “significant negative effect on Florida” in their lifetime, 45 percent of voters say, as 48 percent say it will not.

Florida voters oppose 64 – 29 percent offshore drilling in the ocean off the coast. Republicans support offshore drilling 54 – 38 percent.

On other issues, Florida voters support DeSantis’ proposal to require local law enforcement to work with federal immigration authorities is supported  by 61 – 27 percent of voters. Support is 68 – 21 percent among white voters, 51 – 39 percent among black voters and 48 – 39 percent among Hispanic voters. Democrats are opposed 50 – 37 percent, the only listed group in opposition.

Voters also support, by a 57 – 35 percent margin, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants are provided too much protection in Florida, 34 percent of voters say, as 25 percent say they are not provided enough protection and 26 percent say undocumented immigrants get the right amount of protection.

When it comes to gun violence and whether teachers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons at school to act as a deterrent to mass shootings, Florida voters oppose by a margin of 57 – 40 percent allowing trained teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds. Women oppose arming teachers 63 – 33 percent. Men are divided as 47 percent support the idea, with 50 percent opposed.

The poll shows voters believe stricter gun laws would do more to reduce gun violence in schools, 58 percent of voters say, as 32 percent say armed teachers would do more to reduce gun violence in schools. Florida voters support stricter gun laws 59 – 37 percent.

If more people carried guns, Florida would be less safe, 55 percent of voters say, while 35 percent of voters say the state would be safer.

The poll also took a look at the approval ratings of Florida’s two U.S. senators. Voters approve of the job Sen. Marco Rubio is doing by a margin of 50 – 34 percent, while voters give Sen. Rick Scott a mixed 42 – 38 percent job approval rating.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,058 Florida voters from March 6 – 11. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.


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